February 5, 2013

Düsseldorf Rescinds Doctorate of Education Minister Schavan - Copy, Shake and Paste

The dean of the Arts and Humanities faculty of the University of Düsseldorf announced on the evening of February 5, 2013, that the faculty board voted 13:2 that the dissertation of Annette Schavan is a plagiarism. They also voted 12:2:1 to rescind her doctorate.

There will be a flurry of press reports coming tomorrow, as Schavan is the Minister of Education and Research in Germany. Since her first academic degree was the doctorate, she now only has a high school diploma (Abitur). She can take the university to court within the next four weeks, if she chooses.

I will report more on the situation as it develops. The documentation of the plagiarism can be found at schavanplag. Current information from : Tagesschau - Spiegel - Süddeutsche Zeitung. Schavan's lawyers have announced that they will sue the university, according to Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The lawyers have published their reasoning for suing. They are mainly stating that information leaked out about the process, and that their suggestion of obtaining a second opinion was not followed [although one could see the schavanplag blog as a first opinion and the university one as a second opinion]. And she had so many pages and footnotes, that bit of plagiarism is not bad and was not intentional. It seems to me that they are not aware of the legal cases on plagiarism that determined just the opposite: Even a bit of plagiarism is not acceptable in a doctorate.

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